LOS ANGELES, May 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) after it announced it is moving forward with proposed tobacco product standards within the next year to ban menthol in cigarettes, which have been heavily marketed in Black, LGBTQ, and young adult communities.
Studies have shown that people who smoke menthol cigarettes have a harder time quitting smoking than if they smoke traditional cigarettes. Menthol and other flavors in tobacco can encourage experimentation by youth and first-time smokers as the minty flavor reduces the harshness and irritation of tobacco on the throat. According to the 2018 California Student Tobacco Survey, high school students in LA County who reported smoking cigarettes regularly reported smoking menthol cigarettes.
For years the tobacco industry has intentionally targeted Black/African American, Latino/Latinx, LGBTQ, youth and low-income communities to increase sales of their addictive and deadly products. As part of the community-wide effort to stop these marketing tactics, faith-based organizations joined together to create “No Menthol Sunday.” This year’s event, entitled “A New Day” was scheduled for Sunday, May 16th, 2021 and featured faith organizations and churches addressing menthols’ harmful effects. The event also encouraged smokers to become tobacco-free by providing education and free/low-cost resources to help them on their journey to better health and quitting smoking.
“Los Angeles County has always been a leader in tobacco control, having led the way in prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes in 2019,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “For far too long, Big Tobacco destroyed lives, dreams, and futures by shamelessly marketing their deadly products to our most vulnerable groups. To that end, we will continue to fight to ensure that every person’s life and health is valued and protected.”
The County’s 2019 ban on flavored tobacco products in unincorporated areas reached a one-year milestone this month with the enforcement period becoming effective back on May 1st, 2020. If the FDA ban on menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars is implemented, regulations will be in place to prohibit all manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and retailers from distributing and selling menthol tobacco products.
“Public Health commends the FDA for taking this historic step toward curbing tobacco industry’s continuing efforts to allure new smokers to a highly addictive and deadly flavored product. The FDA’s actions will bring about meaningful public health gains and advance health equity by working towards reversing the health and financial damage tobacco addiction has caused to generations of people,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “The work is far from done and we will continue to partner with community and faith-based organizations to help people quit smoking and help youth live tobacco free lives.”
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recently launched a media and public education campaign focused on the dangers of menthol cigarettes. The campaign and ongoing efforts encourage people to call 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-45-NO-FUME in Spanish) for free counseling and help to start a quit plan. People can also visit LAQuits.com/menthol for resources to help quit.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,100 employees and has an annual budget of $1 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/LAPublicHealth, facebook.com/LAPublicHealth, instagram.com/LApublichealth and youtube.com/LAPublicHealth.
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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health works to protect health, prevent disease, and promote health and well-being.
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SOURCE The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health